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Baltimore puts 230 desk cops on the streets following spike in violence

Baltimore Police Department Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle (speaking at the podium) announced Wednesday that 230 desk-duty officers to be patrolling the streets to address a recent spike in crime. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

The Baltimore Police Department announced Wednesday that it will be temporarily shutting down its administrative operations, moving 230 desk-duty officers out of the office to help patrol the streets.

BPD Interim Commissioner Gary Tuggle made the decision in a response to a recent spike in violence in the city, with 11 people shot and three killed on Tuesday alone.

What are the details?

The Baltimore Sun reported that Tuggle said in a news conference, "It's just not acceptable, and one of the common denominators that we're seeing with this violence is drugs. We've gotten to a point where we've become desensitized to levels of violence in this city that are just totally, totally unacceptable."

The commissioner said the reinforcement officers will stay on patrol "until [the department] can no longer sustain not having those administrative functions done."

Baltimore's police department was already short-handed, with The Associated Press reporting that there are currently 500 officer vacancies the department has been struggling to fill. With the addition of the 230 administrative officers transitioning, there will now be 650 cops on patrol.

Tuggle said the department hopes to eventually employ civilians to take on some administrative duties in the future.

"There are gonna be a number of things that don't get done, but right now patrol is the priority," Tuggle said.

The city has already seen 250 homicides so far this year, with 45 deaths occurring in just the last month.

Tuggle said that city police would also be working with the Maryland State Police, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Maryland Transit Administration Police and the Maryland Transportation Authority Police to try to get a handle on crime.

Mayor Catherine Pugh spoke at the news conference along with Tuggle on Wednesday, echoing the department's reasoning behind the decision and saying, "It's all hands on deck," according to the New York Daily News.

Anything else?

The Baltimore Police Department has struggled for years to contain violence in the city, and last year was the highest per-capita murder rate ever at 432 homicides. The department itself has also come under fire for officers' treatment of civilians — particularly after the death of Freddie Grey in 2015 — and for recent internal corruption schemes.

One last thing…
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